RICHMOND School governors who resigned en-masse had failed to carry out their statutory duties, a local authority has claimed.

North Yorkshire County Council corporate director for children and young people's service, Pete Dwyer, has revealed why a formal warning notice was issued to the governors which prompted their resignations.

In an interview with The Northern Echo, Mr Dwyer said the relationship between the governing body and senior leadership team at the school was "fractured".

He said an agreement had been drawn up requesting an improvement in the board’s communication with senior leaders.

Another agreement required the head teacher's performance appraisal to be undertaken by a specified date.

However, the notice was issued when these steps were not taken, said Mr Dwyer.

He added: “Over a long period of time we had tried to work with the governing body to resolve those issues and arising from those attempts there were some agreements put in place that were not being delivered by the governing body.” 

Although he stood by the decision to issue the warning notice, Mr Dwyer said the authority could have given more explanation to parents about the reason for the warning notice at an earlier date.

Headteacher Ian Robertson said he never considered the relationship with the governing body to be “fractured”, although he admitted there had been disagreements.

Since the governors’ resignations, the head has faced criticism about his management style.

However, Mr Robertson defended his record, saying the school had seen year on year improvements since he took over four years ago, including better exam results, more pupils getting into their first university choice and significant sporting success.

“Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions that some people aren’t comfortable with - that’s part of parcel of running a large secondary school that aims to be one of the best in the country and we’re very nearly there,” he added.